The Complete Bettor's Guide to NFL Week 10
Week 10 of the NFL season has some exciting betting matchups and some even better games just for kicking back and taking in.
Enough games have gone down already for us to get a good idea of who is strong and who is ready to start planning for the offseason. However, despite having all of this data and experience, there's still the human factor.
Anything can and will happen on Sundays, and it's best you take that into consideration when betting on big lines.
New England is 11-point favorites over a Buffalo Bills team that led them 21-7 at halftime before an offensive outburst in the second half. The young Miami Dolphins are six-point favorites against a Tennessee Titans team that has been so incredibly inconsistent that there is no way to call that one.
Take a look at some of the locks, toss ups and a game that you should avoid this weekend.
*All odds used are as of 11/8 and are from Bovada
Safest Bets of the Week
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-9)
The Ravens are unstoppable at M&T Bank Stadium over the past two seasons. No, really, they haven't lost there since the end of the 2010 season. At home, they're an entirely different team, hence the nine-point cushion.
Did you catch Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running back Doug Martin's highlight reel last week against the Raiders? The rookie blew up for 251 yards and punched in three scores.
Ravens running back Ray Rice is licking his lips as we speak at the thought of getting his chance at this defense.
On the flip side, the Raiders will be without their starting and backup running backs this week. Both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson suffered high ankle sprains last week against the Bucs. That will help the Ravens defense who has struggled against the run somewhat this season.
I don't usually advise going with a "lock" on a spread higher than six points, but in this case it's worth the risk.
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
Another team who is a "lock" when at home is the Seattle Seahawks. CenturyLink field boasts the crowd-dubbed "12th man" and the loudest atmosphere of anywhere in the NFL.
The Seahawks have been impressive there this season. They're 4-0 with wins over the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on that field.
Mark Sanchez and the Jets have been horrible when matched up against tough and physical teams. That's not good news for them because they don't come much more physical than the Seahawks.
San Francisco, another NFC West team, annihilated the Jets in a 34-0 shutout in Week 4.
Toss-Up Games of the Week
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at New Orleans Saints
As much as I'd like to just go ahead and pick the undefeated Falcons to knock off the 3-5 Saints, it just isn't that easy. New Orleans is coming off of winning three of its last four games and has played a lot better than their record indicates.
Four of the Saints' losses have been by eight points or less, and the team has performed well against the spread this season (4-4).
The Falcons are 4-0 covering the spread on the road but have their toughest road matchup yet against the Saints' high-powered passing game this week.
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-1)
Houston is tied for third in the NFL with 25 sacks, while Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler is the second-most sacked quarterback in the NFL (28). Texans beastly defensive end J.J. Watt leads all defenders with 10.5 sacks on the year.
This is going to be a very close and grinding matchup that's won and lost between the tackles. Both have dominant running backs in Arian Foster and Matt Forte, but only one is going to have a good enough game to help their team to a win.
This one is truly tough to call and could go either way.
Top Elimination Pool Pick
San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
There's never a "sure thing" in the NFL, especially when you're talking about divisional rivals. If you haven't used the San Francisco 49ers yet, though, you might want to take a look at their Week 10 matchup against the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams started out good and looked like a much-improved squad from 2011. However, they've worn out over the past few weeks and are in free-fall mode.
St. Louis isn't forcing turnovers, and the 49ers have been doing a good job at preventing them by relying on a heavy dose of Frank Gore and the steady hand of Alex Smith.
As long as things don't go horribly wrong early on and the Niners don't fall into a quick deficit, they'll be able to play at their pace with the Rams and grind out an easy win.
Injuries to Keep an Eye on
RBs Darren McFadden/Mike Goodson vs. Baltimore Ravens
Both McFadden and Goodson suffered high ankle sprains last week against the San Diego Chargers. It was a Thursday night game, but the two still don't appear to be recovering quickly enough to be ready to go on Sunday. Injuries of that type usually take longer to recover from than the lower ankle variety.
That's bad news for the Raiders, who will rely on third-string running back Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece to carry the load in their stead.
CB Richard Marshall vs. Tennessee Titans
Second-year quarterback Jake Locker will likely play this week against the Miami Dolphins, who will be without Marshall and likely without some other key defenders. Miami's pass defense has been atrocious, and the loss of Marshall certainly won't help the Fins' Week 10 chances.
WR Antonio Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is one of the key components of their dual-threat offense. He will almost positively not play Monday night against the Chiefs in prime time. While it may not be a game-changing loss for the Steelers, the Chiefs are intimately familiar with the offense ran by offensive coordinator Todd Haley (Chiefs' head coach in 2011).
Browns' absence may limit the things Haley can dial up because of the lack of a big-play threat opposite of receiver Mike Wallace.
WR Percy Harvin vs. Detroit Lions
Harvin is integral to everything the Minnesota Vikings do in the passing game and on special teams. Without him, the team is completely dependent on the running of Adrian Peterson. If Detroit shuts down Peterson and Harvin misses the action, it's going to be a long day for sophomore quarterback Christian Ponder and the Vikings offense.
Stay-Away Game of the Week
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) vs. San Diego Chargers
Despite coming to life offensively, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense has continued to get picked on each week. The team also recently traded away it's No. 1 cornerback, who was serving a four-game suspension for violating league policy by taking Adderall without a prescription.
Phillip Rivers has his full receiver stable returning this week for this matchup against the league's worst secondary.
The Chargers defense isn't nearly as bad as the Oakland Raiders unit, so rookie running back Doug Martin should have a slightly less spectacular game this week. In fact, they're fourth in the league in run stopping, allowing just 84 yards per game on the ground.
Rivers and the Chargers offense are a sleeping giant that just might wake up in Tampa Bay this weekend.